President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday conceded the public perception that Malawi government is like a crime scene of the mafia-like criminal enterprise, saying public sector reform is what the country needs and delegated the country’s second-in-command Saulos Chilima up a turbo-charged reforms to clean the system.
Chakwera said this on Sunday during his weekly briefing monitored on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television as Malawians are now keeping leaders on their toes to account for the K6.2 billion for the Covid-19 national response plan which is reported to have been misappropriated.
In his address, Chakwera said the rot in the government system goes deeper than Covid-19 funds.
“If we are going to root out the problem of waste, abuse, and theft of public resources, we must admit that these are behaviours that have poisoned our values as a nation and have corroded our entire government system,” said Chakwera.
The President said In fact over the past 27 years, the government system has been “rigged” with bad or old laws, procedures, policies, and contracts that are cleverly designed to not only facilitate waste, abuse, and theft, but to also protect those who engage in these acts from being fired or prosecuted.
“The three government systems through which this behaviour is perpetuated are the system of allowances, the system of procurement, and the system of civil servant’s employment contracts.
“These three systems are used by system insiders to loot with impunity,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera reminded the nation that he spoke about the looting scheme in the government system in his radio address of July 25th, 2020, less than a month after he took office.
“My exact words on that occasion were that based on last year’s report from the Auditor General, ‘there is no Government Ministry, Department, or Agency where the culture of impunity for wastage, misappropriation, and theft is not entrenched. And so we cannot afford to deal with corruption selectively by focusing on the tip of the iceberg. It is the whole system that is corrupt and therefore it is the whole system we must clean up.’
“To clean up the system as a whole, we must conduct a comprehensive review and overhaul of the three government systems of allowances, of procurement, and of employment contracts,” said Chakwera.
He said that is the public sector reform that Malawi needs “most urgently”.
The President therefore announced that he has delegated Vice-President, Chilima, in his capacity as Minister of Public Sector Reforms, together with a special Taskforce he will form in consultation with the Head of State, to begin and prioritize a review of these three government systems and submit recommendations for their overhaul to his office within three months.
“The recommendations must include any legislative changes we must make in our laws at one of the sittings of Parliament this year so that our laws protect the interests and resources of the public, not the rubble of public servants who use broken systems to loot and use bad laws and contracts to keep their jobs in the system and keep looting.
“The recommendations must also include a restructuring of the civil service to be more efficient and of civil servants’ conditions of service so that the good people in the system are well supported and not able to use poor pay as an excuse for wasting, abusing, and stealing public resources,” said the President.
Chakwera predicted that the “systemic review and overhaul” will be resisted by so many who are benefiting from the looting, including greedy politicians from all political parties, greedy businesses from the private sector, and greedy civil servants they partner with inside the machinery.
“But it is a battle they will not win,” warned Chakwera, adding “ they will not win because you, the Malawian people, put me here to bring this kind of radical change, and whether anyone likes it or not, change has come.”
Commentators say Chakwera spoke tough on Sunday, but that Malawians want less of flowery language and empty promises, they expect their leader to have few words and more action.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :